The Benefits of Behavioral Based Safety (BBS) in Construction

The Benefits Of Behavioral Based Safety In Construction

Behavioral-based safety, or BBS, is based on psychological principles and studies of positive and negative reinforcement. It refers to the study and implementation of behavioral psychology when it comes to safety in the workplace.

This is extremely important in construction, where the risk of accidents and injuries can cause harm to people, profits, and the process itself. BBS in construction is all about studying people and their behaviors. Then, you can take measures to see how the consequences of these behaviors affect accident and injury rates.

In BBS, there are ABCs you need to know: Action, Behavior, and Consequences. Every action leads to a behavior, and every behavior leads to a consequence - whether it be good or bad.

3 Key Benefits of Behavioral-Based Safety in the Construction Industry

Here, we will outline the main benefits of studying the ABCs of behavioral-based safety and using the knowledge gained to intervene. Ultimately, the goal is to change behaviors to increase safety on construction sites.

  1. BBS can reduce job-related injuries

Accidents and injuries are notoriously common on construction sites. Studies show that construction work makes up a large portion of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the world.

From the standpoint of behavioral-based safety, a lot of these accidents and injuries can happen as a direct result of the cognitive processes and behavioral patterns that workers display.

For example, think of a worker who reacts with panic at a machine malfunction. The action of the machine malfunctioning leads to panicked behavior. This can have negative consequences if the worker does not immediately act swiftly and behave according to their training. The behavior of this worker can then lead to harm to either themselves or others.

BBS proposes that behaviors have consequences above and beyond those that occur naturally. For desirable behaviors that adhere to professionalism and safety training, BBS studies show that positive reinforcers are the way to go. Rewarding good behavior will reinforce this kind of behavior and make it far more likely to happen again.

On the other side of the coin, there are also negative reinforcers for unfavorable behaviors. For example, written warnings and disciplinary hearings. While positive reinforcers seem to work better, sometimes the latter is necessary.

So, BBS can reduce job-related injuries by providing rewards or consequences for desirable and undesirable behaviors.

It is important to note that constant positive reinforcement is effective if you want to reduce job-related injuries. People will be far more likely to be mindful of safety if they know they will be rewarded for it.

2. BBS can minimize lost production hours

Of course, with the decrease in unsafe practices comes the increase in production hours. When workers adhere to training properly and gear their behaviors towards a common goal of safety, they will perform their work more efficiently.

When a behavior results in a negative consequence, like damage to the site or slowed down work, these consequences add up. On construction sites, these stacked-up consequences can lead to a buildup of lost hours.

Behavioral-based safety minimizes this through intervention. In the same way that positive reinforcement can change behaviors that result in accidents or injuries, you can also use it to improve efficiency on site.

For example, you may notice that a worker is demotivated and working slowly. Motivating this worker with positive reinforcers can help incentivize them to complete the job. Therefore, it boosts their productivity. As a result, they will get their job done more efficiently and you won’t lose valuable time.

This is also true of damage to the site. The more mindful the workers are, the less likely it is that they will make avoidable mistakes. BBS is about making sure that worker behaviors keep the site running smoothly and productively. Intervention to change unfavorable behaviors, then, is key.

3. BBS can improve workplace morale

Positive reinforcers are something that people will want to work towards. Because of this, using them can improve workplace morale in a big way. As people work together to decrease unsafe behaviors, you can improve morale as well as workplace relationships.

This is where it is important to note that positive reinforcers can result in durable behavior changes and more satisfied employees. The happier your employees, the higher the morale on site!

Workers will also be far more likely to form good relationships with each other and their superiors when there is a reward to work towards. For example, think of a conflict between workers on site. This can impact safety, minimize production hours, and cause rifts between or within departments.

When everyone works toward a common goal, however, good relationships and morale can skyrocket. This is also true of relationships between employees and their employers. The rewarding of good behavior results in the improvement in relationships between these two.

It is therefore important to understand that behavioral-based safety practices that focus on positive reinforcement when favorable behaviors are demonstrated are key to a happy workforce.

Fights and hostility can become far less likely, as people are presented with incentives to keep the peace. As a result, they will work together rather than in competition with each other.

Final Thoughts

As we can see, studying behavior and using positive reinforcers to change the consequences of actions can be of great benefit to construction sites. It affects people, profits, and processes in a positive way.

With BBS in construction, you can decrease injuries, increase production hours, and foster positive morale and relationships. Providing incentives for good behavior is a tried and tested way to reinforce it! So, keep behavioral-based safety in mind on your construction sites. In doing so, you will truly reap the rewards of a happier, safer, and more productive workforce.

SkillSignal is here to help you revolutionize your safety program. SkillSignal simplifies safety training, compliance, and efficiency on jobsites. Contact us today to book a demo.


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